Overwatering Your Plants

It’s pretty easy to neglect your plants. All you have to do is never water them, never prune them, put them in the wrong sunlight, and then patiently wait for them to die.

Very hands-off

But the most common killer of house plants 🪴 is not neglect but generosity. We overwater them to death. We give them so much water that their roots start to rot from our kindness.

What in your life are you overwatering?

Your business? Your kids? A million ideas?

Everything from design to health to child-rearing does better with a little space and breathing room.

When I try to pack too much into my schedule, not only do my stress-levels elevate, but the quality of what I’m doing diminishes across the board.

Too much of one thing ends up being the opposite of what we were wanting. Too much exercise or long hours at the office and we burnout. Too many hobbies, friends, todos, ideas and we no longer have room for intentionality.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1160

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Not More, But Few.

A Renaissance Life it’s not about stuffing your life with skills.

Not more, but few.

More skills don’t automatically equal more opportunities.

But a few skills mastered is a powerful thing. Because not only do you have variety at your beck and call, but the ability to combine your expertise in interesting and unique ways.

The combination of skills is a breeding ground for innovative ideas and creative ways to think and express ourselves.

Of course, it takes time to get to a professional level of quality in any one skill. This is the reason why we won’t reach for too many skills and stretch ourselves too thin, and therefore dilute our time.

Our time is the most valuable thing we can give to anyone or anything.

There’s an occurrence in health where we crave food and reach for the chocolate and sweets, but what our body actually wants is water (but is masked by desires for Little Debbie’s and chips).

I think a similar thing happens to our habits. Out of want, we reach for something new and exciting—a new hobby or skill—but what we need is to focus and progress in our current skills, even if that means digging in and doing the hard work.

At least this is what I do and struggle with.

It’s easier to add new things than to finish old ones. But finishing what we start is 5x more rewarding than the excitement of starting something new.

Remember this next time you are tempted to start yet another project or another hobby before you finish the ones in front of you.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1154

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Clean Slate Method

Often the obstacles in our way are not (just) the problem(s) we are facing, rather how we are dealing with them.

Basically, we lose our sh🙈t. We worry and loop our problems and mistakes over and over again. We stress ourselves so much we drain all the energy we have (and could have used to solve it.) We’re not thinking about this of course (myself included), we’re too busy dovetailing into the abyss.

At least, that’s how I feel when I have too much on my plate or when I’ve unintentionally said yes to too many things I should have said no to.

But I have found a silly method that has helped me out in times of distress, like when I have stacks of todos and a negative amount of time to do them.

I mentally drop everything.

I pull the tablecloth and swipe away clean everything on it.

I sink all the battleships.

And all I’m left with is a clean slate.

No obligations. Nothing I need to get done. No outside pressures. (And now no inside pressures either!)

Not in reality, just in my mind. I think of it as a factory reset for my brain.

If you’re into paper products (like me) then think of it as a fresh, new sheet of paper, or a blank calendar, unblemished.

As I sit in this mind space, I slowly begin to ask myself questions like:

  • If you could drop everything from your life, what would you want to keep/pick back up?
  • What do you really want to do?
  • If something is holding you back from doing that, what immediate actions are you able to take to open that blockade?

The clean state method is a tool to get you in a better headspace to solve problems and focus on what matters.

Obviously, we can’t actually can’t set everything on fire and start over, but we can stop mentally getting in our way by overwhelming ourselves with the past and our expectations of the future.

Clearing your head gives you much more room to focus on the immediate priority, and tackle things head-on—just not all at once.

It’s had to make anything happen if you’ve psyched yourself out before you’ve even be

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1136

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Appetizing Portions

There’s a thought-provoking quote (that you’ve likely heard) by Desmond Tutu that goes,

“There is only one way to eat an elephant, a bite at a time.”

I don’t know why you’d want to eat an elephant… but that’s not the point.

Huge things, be it global problems, problems in our lives, or ideas and dreams we want to build, are all made up of smaller things.

What is a staircase but a series of steps?

What is a book but a layer of ideas turned into words turned into pages turned into chapters and encapsulated in a central theme? “Purple Cow.” “Leaders Eat Last.” “Big Magic.”

What is a computer but decades of innovation layered with design, manufacturing, physics, chemistry, and lots of love and hard work?

Each piece is it’s own and simultaneously adds up to something more.

Any problem that’s too big hasn’t been broken down into smaller pieces yet.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a problem and then be unable to handle it, but if you break it down into its smallest components and eat a bite of it, one at a time, then it’s just a matter of time.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1121

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I’m currently surrounded by over a dozen books and a dozen gadgets and gizmos I’m actively using andor could be using right now.

I’m guessing your environment looks similar to mine unless you’ve become a minimalist and sold or donated away your things.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m neither humble-bragging nor complaining about the things surrounding me, I’m just observing how easy it is to overcrowd our spaces—physical and digital—with todos.

The disease (dis-ease) of our time is TMI—too much information.

News is an obvious one. I’ve read (somewhere) that the human mind wasn’t made to hold a worlds worth of bad news.

Another is the work-related todos (that we often put on ourselves) pile around us. Overcrowded schedules. Pulled in a million directions except for the one you want to be focusing on.

So what are we supposed to do about this?

For starters, we can live by the principle “out of sight out of mind.” If we remove the options around us, we can focus in on the priority in front of us. If you’re reading a book, don’t surround yourself with a hundred other books you want / should be reading.

But generally, if you have a task to do, limit your scope to that task and only that task. Everything else should be removed from your site or reach if possible. We’re not banning things, just simply taking away the option of use for the next 30 minutes or so.

If something is bothering you or weighing on you, remove it from your mind temporarily so you can focus on what’s important.

Another thing we can continuously do is ask ourselves, “Is this helpful or unhelpful?

Does having 100+ browser tabs open at one time helpful or unhelpful with what I’m trying to do right now?

Does checking Facebook every 5 minutes improving my life or making it harder. Moderation and minimal-ization are key.

The problem isn’t necessary TMI, but too much information all at once. If we’re trying to focus on a dozen things we end up focusing on nothing.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1115

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RL: Sensory Overload

“I have a theory about the human mind. A brain is a lot like a computer. It will only take so many facts, and then it will go on overload and blow up.”

Erma Bombeck

“Our brains weren’t designed to handle a world’s worth of news at once.” I’ve heard a variation of this idea from multiple people on the internet. (I want to say one was Naval.)

My guess is this is related to the idea of Dunbar’s number, where we have a limited number of people we can maintain a stable social relationship with at once (around 150+), or why our minds glaze over like a jelly donut when statistical estimates reach numbers we can’t comprehend.

In today’s world, we’re all dealing with a case of TMI—too much information. The crazy thing is we mostly do it to ourselves.

Sure, there’s an endless amount of products, services, and ideas marketed to us. And of course, there’s all the social media platforms we use multiple times a day. Email, can’t forget email. YouTube. News. There’s also the information we hear from our personal environment (family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, etc.) And that doesn’t even start to include the things we are learning and enjoying—blogs (like this one), podcasts, documentaries, courses, mentors, etc.)

Even just writing that last paragraph is giving me anxiety. No wonder we’re all exhausted and on edge!

There are a few strategies that I’ve found to help me keep the sensory overload monsters at bay.

  1. Ask yourself: Is this enabling me or disabling me?

Is this helping me? Does X Y Z information improve my life? Does this make me more capable of helping others and taking positive steps towards my dreams?

Drop anything that doesn’t.

  1. Clean up your digital life/lives.

Imagine for a moment that you dropped everything. You hit unsubscribe on every follower and newsletter. You cleaned up every digital account you have. You organized every digital file you have. A clean slate. A fresh sheet of paper. By trying to know and focus on everything, you overwhelm yourself into a state of casual knowledge and shallow focus.

  1. Curate for quality and wisdom, over quantity, and time-killers.

Your goal should be to surround yourself with a moderate amount of information that we can use to gain knowledge and skills. Ideas that enable or ideas you can act on. Of course, try not to isolate yourself too much—anyone who’s got their hands (or feet) on bubble wrap knows what happens to bubbles before long—they pop. But don’t drink from the firehose just to be “informed.”

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1085 ☕️

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How Limitations Help Us

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

There’s a pattern of thought I’ve caught myself doing that usually looks something like—

“I can’t do (…) because (…).”

No matter how genuine and realistic the reason after ”because” is, it’s still a limiting thought that accomplishes nothing.

Another way of putting it is “I can’t do something I want to do because something else is getting in the way.”

Sometimes this is a good thing that saves our bacon from harm. “I can’t drive because I’ve had too many drinks.” “I can’t sleep around because I’m married.” “As a resident doctor, I can’t work more than 80 hours because it’s illegal.” “I can’t buy a new laptop because my credit isn’t great.”

Most limitations protect us (and others) from dumb/thoughtless decisions. For example, it sucks not to buy a new laptop—particularly if you need one to survive—but buying one without the means to pay for it will eventually cause more problems in the future.

Breaking limitations is necessary sometimes, but for the most part, limitations protect us from epically failing.

Here’s a built-in example: without proper water, food, or sleep, we can die—or at the very least wreak havoc on our bodies. You can go with quality sleep for a while. We are so resilient we can get used to feeling tired (tired becomes our new normal), but eventually, the bill comes due.

Think about it in your own life. We all know this, but we often ignore this. I know I have. I often work too much without giving myself enough relaxation and rest.

We think we are invincible—until we aren’t.

Some rules need to be broken. As artists and athletes and entrepreneurs and thinkers—boundaries are meant to be broken.

We should always be challenging ourselves and striving to push the boundaries of what we are capable of.

But some rules need to be respected. Nature. Relationship. Ourselves. Our mind, body, and spirit need what it needs. As much as I would enjoy not having to sleep, the thought alone doesn’t give me the power to ignore what’s necessary—not forever anyway.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1024

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Overstuffed Oreos

It’s easy to add more to your life—

More todos. More habits. More meetings. More projects. More books. More hours. More possessions.

Sooner or later, your life looks like an overstuffed Oreo—tasty after the first round, but consecutively less fulfilling the more you eat.

It’s difficult to take away.

It means choosing one good thing over another good thing. It means saying no more than saying yes. It means paring down to the essentials and removing the nice-to-haves (aka distractions).

It means restricting your options, but ultimately giving you the freedom and quality of life you are looking for.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1018

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Planning to Fail

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Lao Tzu

Whenever I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, it’s usually because either A) I’m trying too many things at once, B) I’ve said ‘yes’ to something I should have said ‘no’ to, C) My intention/direction is vague and-or D) All the above.

A. Doing too many things at once is something I’m constantly rebalancing. Curiosity can lead you down to thousands of wonderful (and occasionally bizarre) places. This can spark a countless number of ideas and opportunities, but if you let curiosity run on a rampage all the time, you’ll wake up a week later after being lost in a deep Reddit or YouTube rabbit hole.

The important thing is to have a firm grasp on the few major things that are important to you, so you can pare back when you become aware that you’re a few hundred pounds over your elevator capacity, so to speak.

B. This one is similar to A. Saying yes is easy. It’s nice when someone asks you to do something for you. But too many of these, and you’ll end up doing everyone’s work except your own. It’s hard to say no, but it’s essential if you want to still have the time and energy to focus on what’s most important to you.

C. If there’s a centralized theme to this observation, it’s that only having a vague idea of what you want can easily lead you off into a direction you may or may not have wanted to go.

Sometimes vagueness is what you want. You want the surprise and spontaneity that an unknown direction will bring. Traveling (remember traveling?) to a new place, for example. It’s a delight when you can discover an unknown (to you) restaurant that is divine in a city you’ve never been to before. Movie spoilers is another one. If there’s a movie or tv show I’m interested in seeing, I don’t want to know anything about it. Don’t give me the plot. I don’t want any details. I want to be surprised (and hopefully delighted) which I wouldn’t be if I knew what was going to happen beforehand.

But what about when you’ve got a problem you need to fix or when hazy ideas are holding you back?

When in doubt, make a plan.

The method can be simple. Grab some paper and a pen and start writing. Make a todo list. Ask yourself questions. Get specific. Dig. Come up with some potential action steps.

The true benefit of planning is clarity. We’ll rarely actually reach the exact goal we set out to achieve, but taking time to understand our next steps will move us in the right direction.

If we only have a vague sense of what we’re after, how can we possibly know what we can do to get there?

Planning gives us specific actions to take. No—it gives the next action we need to take. Our destination might be completely different after we finish that action, but by then we are ready for the next one.

Planning is about playing the chessboard. The next move is critical, but only when combined with the next several moves and countermoves in the future. The idea isn’t just to have one fixed thing we’re after. We’re thinking about all the potential outcomes—worst-case and best-case scenarios. We’re trying to nudge the outcome in a particular direction, but if it doesn’t work at least we have an idea of what a bad scenario looks like and what we can do to handle it.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1013

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Closing Threads

“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”

John D. Rockefeller

Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I have a mental/journaling exercise I do where I imagine if I dropped everything on my todo list.

Every task, obligation, book, responsibility, dream, possession, need—I pretend that I lit a match and set all the boats on fire.

Imagine it—you have nothing required of you and your slate is empty.

After picturing it in my mind I’ll begin to feel a weight lifted off of me. We tend to put so much pressure on ourselves. The pressure to perform, the pressure to succeed, the pressure to win. And when we can’t match all of our expectations we pull on even more weight. And it’s not just the work that creates pressure but the added mental weight of our expectations that really buckle our knees.

In fact, how we think about things adds 100x the power to our actions.

Trying to do too much at once is one thing, attempting to do too much while expecting we can do it all adds 100x the weight to our shoulders.

But when you let all the expectations and mental chatter go you will feel free. The weight is gone.

After mentally removing everything from my calendar, I then ask myself two important questions:

What do I actually want to do? (Or put another way, what am I willing to carry?)

And, out of all of my needs and responsibilities, what’s one thing I can focus my efforts on RIGHT NOW that would make me feel better (not overwhelmed) and accomplished?

Overwhelm is solved by not saying yes to everything (especially if you actually want to say no) and by prioritizing and focusing all your efforts on one task and one task only. Yes, your todo list might be a mile long, but that doesn’t matter right now—all that matters is the task at hand.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #944

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